• 1Proposed
  • 2Under Assessment
  • 3Preliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea Llano

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Scientific name
Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Assessment status
Proposed by
Troy McMullin
Lalita Calabria, Katherine Glew, Troy McMullin, John Villella
Chandler Lymbery
Troy McMullin
Comments etc.
Jessica Allen, Anders Dahlberg

Assessment Notes

Add Eric Peterson and Steve Sheehy as assessors

Taxonomic notes

Chemical and ecological data support the circumscription of this variety. Current molecular data do not support the monophyly of Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea as a distinct lineage from Umbilicaria phaea var. phaea (McMullin et al. in prep). The concentration of the red pigment in Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea can be variable, and the red color of individuals fade over time in herbarium specimens.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea is endemic to northwestern continental United States. It is a distinctive and conspicuous species due to its bright red thallus. Therefore, it is unlikely to have been overlooked in areas that have been explored by lichenologists or by general botanists. It is only known to be locally common in the arid portions of a single watershed. There are approximately six sites outside of this watershed with very small populations.

Geographic range

Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea is endemic to northwestern North America and has been reported from Northern California, Oregon, and Washington. Most individuals have been reported from the Klamath Canyon and the Shasta River.

Population and Trends

It is locally somewhat common in arid portions of the Klamath River watershed on both sides of the California/Oregon border. Outside of the Klamath River watershed there are approximately four known sites with small populations (one to a few small thalli) in central Oregon and two sites in Washington along the Columbia River, which are also small populations.

Population Trend:

Habitat and Ecology

In arid environments on exposed basalt and ultramafic rock.


Development, habitat loss.
Dam removal activities along the Klamath River could disturb or extirpate occurences.
Collecting events

Conservation Actions

In Washington, the Northwest Lichenologists conducted a review and they recommended a state conservation rank of S1 (critically imperiled). This is currently under review by the Washington Natural Heritage Program. In California, this variety is considered rare (Sharnoff 2014). A bid for conservation sponsorship is currently being prepared for the Conservation Committee of the California Lichen Society by J. Villella and E. Peterson. In Oregon, U. phaea var. coccinea has a Natural Heritage state rank of S2 (imperiled).

Research needed

The much more common brown variety, Umbilicaria phaea var. phaea, almost always occurs adjacent to the red variety. It is uncertain if the the two varieties are interbreeding. Further research is required to better understand their relationship, which may be important for conservation planning.

Climatic models show potential habitat in eastern Washington and eastern Oregon that may not have been explored (McMullin et al. In review).

Use and Trade

Collecting scientific specimens


Llano GA. 1950. A Monograph of the Lichen Family Umbilicariaceae in the Western Hemisphere. Navexos P-831. Office of Naval Research, Washington, D.C.

McCune B, Geiser L. 2009. Macrolichens of the Pacific Northwest, second edition. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR.

Oregon Biodiversity Information Center. 2013. Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Oregon. Institute for Natural Resources, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.

McMullin, RT, Braid HE, McBride P, Peterson E, Villella J, Sheehy S, Glew K, Newmaster SG. A conspectus of Umbilicaria phaea var. coccinea: including its conservation status and continued support for its variety rank from four molecular loci. In review..

Peterson E. 2003. Clarification of three Umbilicaria species new to California. Bull Calif Lichen Soc 10: 10 .

Sharnoff S. 2014. A field guide to California Lichens. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut.

Washington State Department of Natural Resources. 2014. Washington Natural Heritage Program Proposed List of Rare Lichens. www1.dnr.wa.gov/nhp/refdesk/lists/lichens.html Accessed 25 February 25 2015

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted